Michael Garfield – How To Live in the Future: ...in which I organize a benefit for Sasha Shulgin, paint with Alex Grey, talk to NASA, and rock the Nelson Ledges

08 June 2011

...in which I organize a benefit for Sasha Shulgin, paint with Alex Grey, talk to NASA, and rock the Nelson Ledges

"We are all completely dependent on everyone else. The point is to live freely, in the present, freely giving and freely taking, which is the way of nature. The idea is to give up control of credit and debt, and just trust the cycle of nature."

"We have been hypnotized into this scarcity-based thinking. At every corner of our society, there is a conversation revolving around how much there is not enough to go around. If you can, not in a cheesy and unauthentic way, but in a truly heartfelt way embrace the world, and engage the world with that faith, and that conviction of the ultimate abundance of life, you will change the world. You will, and you will not be trying to change it, and you'll be having fun."
- John Marshall Roberts

Hi everyone. ♥ I am still love-drunk from organizing Wakarusa Festival's first-ever Live Art Team & Gallery, but it'll be a little while before I can get all of that online. Besides, there's still a lot to catch up on! Firstly, and most proudly, I coordinated this:



Alexander "Sasha" Shulgin is probably the most important chemist alive. In addition to rediscovering MDMA and popularizing its therapeutic use, he also synthesized hundreds of new psychoactive chemicals and – with his wife and companion Ann – chronicled their effects in the extraordinary detail of two legendary volumes, PIKHAL & TIKHAL.

At the age of 85, Sasha recently suffered a stroke and now requires full-time medical care. This benefit compilation is the response from an international network of musicians whose work and lives have been enriched and inspired by the work of these two pioneers and their courageous exploration of nonordinary consciousness.

The L.A.B., or "Large Animal Bioassay," was the pet name given to visionary chemist Sasha Shulgin's small group of friend-volunteers who spent years exploring the effects of his newly-discovered molecules on their consciousness. This heroic team of psychonauts were the first to experience hundreds of novel states of consciousness, and it is in their honor that we name this compilation of eclectic tracks.

Just as their own journeys took them into realms of both the profound and profane, pleasure and anxiety, these two hours of music – spread over two discs, one danceable and one ambient – are the perfect accompaniment for an adventure to the human mind's furthest horizons...

Support the Shulgins in their hour of need by purchasing this epic 27-track album for at least $5!

"Can't Shut Us Down" by McDonough, Garfield, Uzzardi

A couple of weeks ago Jeremy McDonough, Renee Uzzardi, and I burned across country from Denver to eastern Ohio to play at the legendary Nelson Ledges Quarry Park. We rocked the festival's closing set, facing an enormous lake made from a filled-in forest gravel quarry...beautiful red pebbles everywhere, bats flying around, the woods full of revelers... Visuals provided by my nearly completed painting (see below) and Jeremy's glow-in-the-dark laser-reactive shirt. This improvised number was the festival's final moment.

Simmer on that for a while until I'm done readying the next album of acoustic-electronic guitar loops...

River To The Source
2011 04 29, 30 Cervantes (Nadis Warriors, Octopus Nebula, ESKMO)
2011 05 20, 21 Nelson Ledges Quarry Park
(Elemental Groove Theory, Boogie Matrix Mechanism, UV Hippo, The Werks, Broccoli Samurai)
2011 05 22 The Church (Jazzam)
32"x24" - opaque pens on masonite
signed 11"x17" poster prints - $20 or two for $30 (plus $5 s/h)

(click to view in hi-res)

Well, I'm in it. You are too. I'm not always proposing we view time as linear and goal-oriented, but even in an endless field there are divots - in an endless ocean there are whirlpools - and we are rolling into one. And as we whip around the margin of this strange attractor, the feeling of inevitably increases, but it's important to remember that there's no such thing as capital The capital End...


I started this piece at the Denver Alex & Allyson Grey shows in April, but was so busy body painting that weekend I had to wait around until my trip to Ohio and Pennsylvania to complete it. The final touches were laid on during an overnight in Pittsburg when my bandmate, lunatic keyboardist Jeremy McDonough, lost his keys after a reunion gig with his old band Jazzam back home. (Turns out the keys accidentally made it home with someone else in order that the universe might keep him around an extra night with his friends. Sneaky freakin' universe!)

While at the Nelson Ledges (and big thanks to The Werks for throwing that one and inviting us!), I managed to body paint a few people...it turned out pretty well. Check out pictures in my ongoing gallery:


Also, lastly – until next week, when I'll share all of the awesomeness that came out of our art team's work at Wakarusa – here's a video made by NASA, interviewing me at Yuri's Night 2010 at Moffett Air Force Base during one of the more unlikely concerts I've ever painted. To this day, I'm still the only person ever allowed to paint in an Air Force hanger. I had just driven nineteen straight hours to make it there on time to set up and then painted for twelve straight hours, so please excuse my rambling for being slightly more incoherent than ordinary. This might be the most honest NASA video you ever see:



More soon, with love.